lunedì 21 agosto 2017

Now that your wife can no longer take the blame on herself (because she did it already), why, Arcovazzi, don’t you say that you yourself are her husband?

Sogni e curregge rimangono n’i’ lletto.

Dreams and farts stay inside the bed.

Florentine proverb


8th Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament in Moscow, Russia, 1949-1950. 6th World Chess Champion Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik personally greeting the participants. Photo: José Luis Matamoros Barrientos/Ajedrez, la lucha continúa.

Okay, okay, no capes of any kind. Wings only!

Fairy wings and capes

Superheroes fill the sky at the Whitley Bay Kite Festival in Whitley Bay, England. Photo: David Whinham/Alamy Live News.

Space Oddity

“Space Oddity” ™ © Mado Flynn

Handmade in Italy by Mado Flynn

Grand Staircase

拜访小行星 (Visit to a Small Planet)

Jerry Lewis †
(Newark, March 16, 1926 – Las Vegas, August 20, 2017)

Why the Heart Must Go Wrong

The image above (cropped) was page 10 of the Leidse Courant of March 8, 1977, in referring to the Candidates Quarterfinal match for the World Chess Championship between the Brazilian Henrique Mecking (pictured above) and the Soviet Lev Abramovich Polugaevsky, held in Lucerne, Switzerland, from February 26 to April 2, 1977. The news is of some interest to Italy too, as after only three games Mecking fired his second Sergio Mariotti! “The brazilian seems to have recovered quite well after the nerve breakdown he suffered last weekend. The problems with his second Sergio Mariotti, who was fired by Mecking because of difference of vision, seem to have come to an end. The most likely successor to Mariotti is said to be the young Swiss Werner Hug, who was World Junior Chess Champion in 1971”, the report reads.
Mecking and Mariotti knew each other when they participated in the Manila Interzonal in 1976, which was won by the Brazilian. Mariotti showed his shining chess only in the second half of the Interzonal, but it was enough for Mecking to ask him to act as his second in his upcoming match with Polugaevsky. Yet it was impossible to imagine two men more different in character. The spokespeople of the Federazione Scacchistica Italiana said that Mariotti’s unfortunate first half was due to jet lag and exacerbated by his difficulty in acclimatization. They probably felt some embarrassment in saying that he had kicked off the second assigned (by them) to assist him, International Master Alvise Zichichi, in favour of a not rated player, Mr. Lorenzo Argenton, who indeed was a friend of his, and incidentally a very strong chess player, too. Then, the legend wants, Mariotti played the first half of the Interzonal rigorously accompanied (and warmly encouraged) by a new girlfriend he had picked up in the slums of Manila. Perhaps as a compensation, he played a fantastic second half with a string of famous scalps to his name. In the early 1980s it was always a sublime pleasure to listen to his tales when he used to come from Rome to Florence just for one night at a time, if only to play one thousand blitz games with his long time friend Mr. Alessandro Parenti. Mariotti was a histrionic storyteller, and sometimes speaking about the chess VIPs (as well as the Florentine celebrities such as Vincenzo Castaldi and Clarice Benini), he liked to exaggerate a little, always in the most positive light. But the night when he told us of Mecking, I remember him still upset about his brief experience. “He plays too fearfully, he blamed me for not being passive and defensive like him!”, the Italian Fury growled. After firing Mariotti, Mecking actually called Werner Hug, and then, once he had fired Hug too, he finally turned to his old friend Juan Manuel Bellón López, another attacking player. Always that night I’m sure I heard a strong player of the Florence Chess Academy in via dei Pucci whispering, “Poor Mecking... first, Mariotti; then Bellón... all fireworks, but not a solid line”.

domenica 20 agosto 2017

On the Road

Thousands of people – some wearing prison uniforms – took to the streets in 香港 Hong Kong to demand the release of 羅冠聰 (Nathan Law Kwun-chung), 黃之鋒 (Joshua Wong Chi-fung), and 周永康 (Alex Chow Yong-Kang), jailed for between six and eight months on Thursday for their taking part in or inciting an “illegal assembly” that helped spark the 雨傘革命 (Umbrella Revolution) in late September 2014. Photo: Ren/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock.

Сель (Mudflow)

Cars stacked onto one another after a mudflow hit the Simferopol-Sudak highway in southeastern Crimea, early on August 19, 2017. Photo: Alexander Kiriakov/TASS via Getty Images.

智庫 (Think tank)

People take part in a chili pepper-eating contest held in 宁乡市 (Níngxiāng), 湖南省 (Húnán province), China, on August 12, 2017. Photo: VCG.

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi

Il medico pietoso fa la piaga puzzolente.

Mild physician – putrid wounds.

Tuscan proverb

Lunar eclipse

Artwork © Tiny-angel-622

sabato 19 agosto 2017

An Ear to the Earth

A grey long-eared bat was rescued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) on Monday, August 14, 2017 after being found grounded in Merriott, Somerset, England. She was taken in by the charity’s West Hatch Wildlife Centre, in nearby Taunton, where staff member and bat expert India Long has taken the tiny 5g mammal under her wing. She’s about the size of a ping pong ball and weighs only 5g which is about 2g less than she should. There were signs she would still have been dependent on her mother and she likely would not have survived if left. Photo: RSPCA/PA.

The Last Next Time

Leinier Domínguez Pérez – Garry Kimovich Kasparov
Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour 2017; Saint Louis, August 18, 2017
Sicilian Defence B81

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6! “I remembered in the last game with Domínguez that it might be my last Najdorf”, Kasparov said afterwards. 6. h3!? e6 7. g4 h6 8. Bg2 g5 9. Be3 Nbd7 10. Qe2 Ne5 11. 0-0-0 Nfd7 12. h4. Forget her not: 12. f4 gxf4 13. Bxf4 b5 14. Rhf1 Bb7 15. Qf2 Rc8 16. Nce2 Bg7 17. Ng3 Rh7 18. Nh5 Bh8 19. Kb1 Nc5 20. Bg3 Nxe4 21. Bxe4 Bxe4 22. Bh4 Qc7 23. Bf6 Bg6 24. Bxh8 Rxh8 25. Nf6+ Kd8 26. h4 Qc5 27. h5 Bh7 28. Qh4 Bxc2+ 29. Nxc2 Qxc2+ 30. Ka1 Rc4 31. Ne4+ Kc7 32. Nxd6 Rf4 33. Qe7+ Kb6 34. Qb7+ Ka5 35. Qa7 b4 36. Rfe1 Nf3 37. Rc1 Nxe1 38. Rxc2 Nxc2+ 39. Kb1 1 : 0 J. Polgár – Topalov, 10th Essent Chess Tournament, Hoogeveen 2006. 12. ... Rg8 13. hxg5 hxg5 14. Kb1 b5 15. a3. White’s plan appears a little too slow. Deserving consideration was 15. f4 gxf4 16. Bxf4 Bb7 17. g5 Qa5 18. Rh7 0-0-0 19. a3 Kb8 20. Qf2 Rc8 21. Na2 Ka8 ½ : ½ Kasimdzhanov – Sasikiran, French Team Championships Top 16, Évry 2000. 15. ... Bb7 16. Bc1 Rc8 17. Rh3. White was justly worried about the possibility of Black’s Exchange sacrifice on c3. 17. ... Ng6 18. Bh1 Nde5 19. Rg3? White’s position was none too comfortable anyway, but probably after 19. Nf3 it was tenable enough still. 19. ... Be7 20. Na2 Rh8 21. Rc3 Rxc3 22. Nxc3 Qc7. Now and on the next move Kasparov disdains the gain of the Pawn by 22. ... Nf4, judging his positional initiative to be worth more. 23. Bg2 Qc4 24. Qxc4. It was perhaps better not to exchange Queens (by 24. Qe3), because now Black’s initiative will slip on velvet. 24. ... bxc4 25. f3 Rh2 26. Bf1 Nf4 27. Be3 Bd8. Black stands much better, but White’s next move is one of the worst possible: 28. Rd2? Rxd2 29. Bxd2 Bb6 30. Bxf4 gxf4 31. Nce2

31. ... d5! And finally the Sicilian triumph! The rest is easy. 32. exd5 Bxd5 33. Bg2 Nxg4 34. Nxf4 Ne3 35. Nde2. 35. c3 Bb7 36. Nc2 Nxg2 37. Nxg2 Bxf3 was also totally hopeless. 35. ... Nxg2 36. Nxg2 Bxf3 37. Nef4 Ke7 38. Kc1 e5 39. Nh4 Be3+ 40. Kb1 Bxf4 41. Nxf3 Ke6 42. b3 e4 43. Nd4+ Kd5 44. c3 Be5 45. bxc4+ Kxc4 46. Nf5 Kxc3 47. Kc1 Kd3 48. Kd1 e3 0 : 1. So Kasparov closes at 8th place of the Rapid & Blitz combined score, just half a point behind the tie for 5th place, and eight and half points behind the sole winner Levon Grigori Aronian. I hope such comebacks will continue, if only to give a little life to the self-referential and elitist Grand Chess Tour’s circuit.

venerdì 18 agosto 2017

Edna, are you sure he is Marlon Brando?

Trade for Good

Garry Kimovich Kasparov – Hikaru Nakamura
Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour 2017; Saint Louis, August 18, 2017
8/3b3k/p5p1/5p1P/1P3P2/P1B1K3/5P2/8 w - - 0 33

Position after 32. ... g7-g6

Kasparov played very energetically securing the gain of two Pawns, but Nakamura still lays hopes on the opposite colour Bishops endgame. 33. h6! It might be the best practical possibility! 33. ... Kxh6 34. Kd4 Kh5? Nakamura becomes too overconfident and uncautiously moves his King away from the danger zone; after 34. ... Kg7! 35. Kc5+ Kf7 I doubt White can do anything as 36. Kb6 Bb5 37. a4 Bxa4 38. Kxa6 Bd1 seems to lead only to a draw. 35. Kc5 Kg4 36. Bd2 Kf3 37. Kb6! Bb5 38. a4! Bf1. 38. ... Bxa4 39. Kxa6 Kxf2 40. b5 doesn’t make any difference. 39. b5 axb5 40. axb5 Kxf2 41. Kc6 Ke2 42. Bc1 Kd1 43. Ba3 Kd2 44. Be7 1 : 0.

Breaking the Silence

Fabiano Caruana – Garry Kimovich Kasparov
Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour 2017; Saint Louis, August 18, 2017
5k2/8/R4P2/1pN2p2/pPn4p/5KbP/2P5/4r3 b - - 5 63

Position after 63. Ra7-a6

And finally, in the last day of the blitz challenge in Saint Louis, Godzilla thundered his war cry: 63. ... Nd2+ 64. Kg2 Re2+ 65. Kh1 Rh2+ 0 : 1. For if 66. Kg1 there follows 66. ... Nf3+ 67. Kf1 Rf2 mate.

Garry Kimovich Kasparov
Photo © Lennart Ootes

If Feet Could Talk

A baby greater flamingo named Squish struts in its bespoke booties, made by keepers to protect its feet from the hot concrete, at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. Photo: Reuters.


A male frog croaks for a mate at Zoo Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany. Photo: Jens Meyer/AP.

Take Five Minutes

Garry Kimovich Kasparov – Leinier Domínguez Pérez
Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour 2017; Saint Louis, August 17, 2017
8/1p6/p1p1Nk2/P2p1Pp1/1P1Kn1P1/2P5/8/8 w - - 23 54

Position after 53. ... Nd6-e4

The first day of the blitz challenge in Saint Louis was everything but easy for Kasparov who, although his romanticized opening repertoire, left on the field several half points, which was always due to his emotional time management. His only day’s win came from a Four Knight ending (but with only two Knights left on the board), which, after ups and downs on the edge of time, he finally managed to convert into victory. 54. Nd8!? Nd6? Domínguez Pérez plays by inertia for a draw, thus falling in big trouble. It would seem that after 54. ... Nf2! 55. Nxb7 Nxg4 56. Nc5 Nh6 Black may actually draw without too much difficulty. 55. Kc5! Ne4+ 56. Kb6! Nxc3 57. Nxb7? Side effects of blitz! Stockfish gives 57. Ne6 Na2 58. Kxb7 Nxb4 59. Kb6 Ke5 60. Nxg5 d4 61. Nf3+ Ke4 62. Nd2+! (I like very much 62. f6? Nd5+ 63. Kxa6 Kxf6 64. Nxd4!! Kxd4 65. Kb7, but after 65. ... Nd7 66. Kc7 Nc5 67. Kd6! Nb7+ 68. Ke6 Nxa5 69. g5 c5 70. g6 c4 71. g7 c3 72 g8=Q c2 White gets only a book draw!) 62. ... Kd3 63. Kc5! Kxd2 64. Kxd4! Nd3 65. g5 and apparently the Black Knight cannot stop all White’s Pawns. 57. ... Na2? Black immediately returns the courtesy. Correct was 57. ... Ne4! as after 58. Nc5 Nxc5 59. Kxc5 Kf7! 60. Kxc6 d4 61. b5 d3 the ensuing Queen ending is very drawish. 58. Kxa6 Nxb4+. Or 58. ... d4 59. Kb6 d3 60. Nc5 Nxb4 61. Nxd3! transposing into the game. 59. Kb6 d4 60. Nc5 d3 61. Nxd3! Nxd3 62. a6 1 : 0.